Buoyed by Tusker draw, Kisumu Eagles aim to fly higher to evade the chop


 Isaac Swila in Kisumu

Buoyed by a battling nervy 2-2 draw with Tusker on Saturday at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu, Kisumu All Stars coach Andrew Aroka is now confident that his boys will continue with the upward trajectory to evade the dreaded relegation axe.

The Eagles have had a woeful season particularly the first leg, but their last two matches have given a glimmer of hope.

Prior to matching Tusker in every facet in the lakeside city of Kisumu, Stars had pushed Ulinzi Stars to the limit eight days ago falling 3-2 at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru in another high octane match.

On Saturday, in a match that kept fans on the edge of their seats, Tusker’s winger Timothy Otieno, a former Gor Mahia boy, thought he’d secured all the three points for the travelling brewers with a sloppy header in the 90th minute but Erick Otieno’s deliciously curled free-kick touched off chaotic celebrations – on and off the pitch – as the youngster peeled his shirt in ecstasy to soak the moment.

Centre referee pulled out a yellow card as a caution but it mattered little, at-least for him, compared to a cherished and hard-earned point before adoring home fans.

What made the goal even special was the manner of its execution. Picking himself up after being upended at the fringes of the 18-yard box, he carefully placed the ball on its spot, took four steps back and let his prying eyes frisk Robert Mboya’s net. With the go ahead from the centre referee, he raced towards the ball hitting it hard and up as it curled past the wall into the top right corner of Mboya’s net.  Goooal! The crowd roared! It was delicious!

On his heroics, his coach Aroka said: “He is a specialist in free-kick; we have faith in him in such positions. He’s a mature player.”

He went on:  “He’s a young boy, he’s upcoming and we have to give upcoming players a chance.”

Done with the rave reviews on his upcoming talent,  Aroka shifted gears to his squad’s performance, talking at length of how he thinks they’ll beat the axe to safeguard their core status in the top division next term.

“I’ve talked to the boys, I told them the importance of football, because this is their career; it’s their job and you can see they are changing.

They are pushing themselves more and they know if they retain their top-tier status life will be good,” he answered when asked whether the county government of Kisumu, the team’s owners, had met their end of the bargain by settling staggering arrears.

On Tusker’s game plan, he said: “It’s OK. The boys have tried. Tusker dominated us but we utilized the chances we got. We conceded from our mistakes; lack of concentration, so we are going back to the drawing board.”

And as the Eagles retreat to the tactic room, their adoring fans will be hoping that they can get the tactics spot-on and slay their next opponent, Mathare United, whom they face this coming weekend.

“We have faith we will survive…we will win at least four matches. The County has tried their best to ensure the boys got something (payment) which was a motivation in the camp.

The boys are driving themselves more. We expect a tough match against Mathare,” he concluded.

Sitting  rock bottom on position 17, after SoNy Sugar were expelled from the competition, All Stars have mustered just  eight points from 20 matches; emanating from two wins, a similar number of draws , and a staggering  16 losses!

But with 12 matches to go, and 36 points to fight for, there is every reason for the youthful soft spoken coach to be optimistic, that is, if his boys pull up their socks, and fight to the last man, they’ll safeguard their status.


latest stories